So, you’ve tried positive reinforcement, but it didn’t work. Often this happens not because reinforcement itself is ineffective, but perhaps your personal or work commitments render you unable to train regularly and consistently enough to change your dog’s behaviour permanently. To make matters worse, the neighbours have complained, and you’re worried a Council fine might be in the cards. This is where bark control collars can be invaluable. However, if it’s your first time looking for a bark collar, then you’re probably confused about the seemingly endless options available these days. To help you avoid spending hundreds of dollars trying different bark collar types before settling on one that works, we thought we’d share a few tips to help you choose the right collar for your dog.
The first thing to consider is the breed and size of your dog. It is important for any bark collar to sit snuggly around the dog’s neck (a good indication is when only one finger can pass through between the belt and the neck), so getting the right size collar is very important for it to work effectively. A static collar is considered the most effective at controlling barking but if it sits loosely on your dog’s neck, then it will be practically useless. Chihuahuas, for example, are so small that most standard bark collars simply will not fit. For breeds this small, we recommend Bark Doctor’s Mini Plus bark collar, which has a revolutionary contact jaw design that wraps comfortably around the throat of extra small dogs for maximum effectiveness.
The second consideration when choosing a bark collar is your dog’s sensitivity level. Your dog may be the type to be easily frightened, so a collar that gives the option of using sound or vibration only would be the most humane. Bark Doctor’s PB10 Bark Collar and model WT180 Remote Trainer are the most versatile in our range, both giving you the option of turning off static and vibration modes to use sound only training, especially at the beginning, and eventually combining vibration and static when you find sound alone is not enough. It’s also essential that you choose one that allows you to adjust the intensity of the training, giving you room to start very low but with the ability to gradually increase as needed. All bark collars in the Bark Doctor range allows you to adjust intensity or sensitivity levels.
On the flipside, there are dog breeds like Ridgebacks and Bull Terriers that exhibit very high tolerance for pain. These dogs would bark through the highest sound, vibration and static settings, sometimes to the point of wounding their necks, especially when the owner neglects to remove or turn off the collar in time. When this sounds like your dog, remove the bark collar immediately and consider other options. A good alternative to a bark collar is the Bark Stopper 136, which is a free standing or mountable device that emits ultrasonic noise whenever it detects a dog barking within a 15-metre distance (total coverage is 500sqm). The ultrasonic noise does not hurt but irritate, and the dog and will eventually make the connection between barking and the ultrasonic noise. This will result in a significant reduction in barking without the use of a collar!
It’s important to note that bark control collars cannot replace positive reinforcement, which should be the first option when controlling excessive dog barking. A good way of looking at positive reinforcement is teaching the dog a desired behaviour whenever the known trigger for barking occurs. For example, you can teach your dog to go to his bed whenever the doorbell rings or the door knocks. It may be worthwhile reaching out to a dog trainer and spend a few hours at home learning a few tricks you can do to reinforce desired behaviours without yet resorting to using a bark collar.
You will notice that the Bark Doctor product range is much narrower than many of our competitors. We consider this one of our main advantages. We believe in focusing on a narrow range of products that we have spent considerable time market-testing to prove effectiveness rather than overwhelming our customers with too many options and types that essentially do the same thing but with varying results. We want to do the trial and error, so you don’t have to. If you need further assistance and more tailored advice, don’t hesitate to send us a message. We would love to hear from you and offer the best recommendation. `